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Aarif stars as Chauraha crowned DPL champions

Aarif Sheikh displayed sheer class and aggression as Team Chauraha Dhangadhi deligthed the local crowd making a remarkable comeback to win the inaugural Sagarmatha Cement Dhangadhi Premier League title at the vibrant SSP cricket grounds on Saturday.Paras Khadka-led Chauraha overcame Sharad Vesawkar’s Biratnagar Kings by 62 runs to claim the title along with a cash prize of Rs 1.5 million. Runners-up Kings got Rs 700,000.Electing to bat first, Chauraha managed to reach 159-5 in 20 overs after some lusty hitting in the end of their innings. Chauraha, in reply, were bundled out for 97 in 18.1 overs.Electing to bat first in a 11:00 AM start, Jitendra Mukhiya bowled consecutive maiden in his first two-over spell and Sushil Kandel removed openers Anil Mandal (two) and Raju Rijal (duck) reducing them to 4-2 in 3.2 overs.Runs dried up with early dismissals as Paras and new batsman Prithu Baskota shifted to defensive gears forging a 33-run stand. Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane applied more brakes before he removed Prithu (14) returning the figures of 1-11 in his continuous four-over spell.Paras then shared 44 runs for the fourth wicket with Aarif who survived two run outs before launching attack on bowlers with big hitting. Paras was out for 29 off 34 with three fours and a six.The real onslaught came between the partnership of Aarif and Amar Singh Routela as the young duo collected 63 runs from just 24 balls. Aarif notched up his second half century of the tournament and the quickest of DPL scoring 53 from 28 balls.Aarif’s whirlwhind 30-ball 54 included four boundaries and as many sixes. Amar played a 15-ball cameo of 31 hitting three fours and two sixes. Saurav Khanal made a six-ball 15 with a six and a four as Chauraha collected 117 runs from the last 10 overs and 78 runs from the last five. Sushil Kandel took 2-32 from four overs, while Jitendra was hit for 31 runs in his returning spell to finish with the figures of 1-31 from four.Kings had shaky start losing opener Aasif Sheikh (three) early. Amit Shrestha made some quick runs making a 27-ball 26 with four boundaries but was bowled by Aarif. They were still in the hunt at 60-3 but the 12th over bowled by Sushan Bhari Shrestha turned the tide towards Chauraha.Bhari, who hadn’t done much in the previous matches, trapped dangerous Dipendra Singh Airee for 13 and a ball later got rid of Sharad (two) as Chauraha closed in on victory. Bhari returned the figures of 3-18 from four overs with one maiden.Man-of-the-final Aarif returned with an all round display of 2-16 from three overs, while Saurav also picked up 2-22 from four. Pranit Thapa Magar top scored with 27 off 22 for Kings hitting three fours and a six.

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